Written by: J.H. Longman
Recently I was over at Hyrule Herald, reading an article about Movie adaptations and how that they will never be perfect and honestly a lot of great points were made and it made me start thinking about a Zelda movie and seeing as how we never wrote anything on this matter, now is a great reason to do so.
Not everything can be a winner and even some of the worst movies are not all that bad, but with the likes of the Super Mario Brothers film being the massive flop that is was and the “epic fail” TV series that was the Legend of Zelda, Nintendo really doesn’t have a good track record with films inspired by video-games and they’re not the only ones. Yes there are other films that were epic fails, like Doom, but there were plenty of comic book adaptations that sunk like the Titanic (the ship, not the film. The film was a Huge success) and it’s all for the same reasons, not enough research and it failed to stay true to the original content.
Now as for an actual Zelda film, even as a huge fan, I honestly hope to God it never happens, even if Miyamoto has full creative control over it. No one knows Zelda quite like him and to let a production company come in and dictate what can be done and what can’t be, it would kill the film dead and run the risk of being a slap in the face to the magnificent franchise that is the Legend of Zelda. Link has been around for nearly 30 years now and the biggest thing about his character is the relationship he has to the gamer playing him. He may be our face, but his unspoken words are open to our own interpretation. His actions and reactions, although designed to follow a certain path, is still down to us to make our own choices. “Do I go to the forest temple? Or think ‘Hyaaaaa’ and go to the shooting gallery to win a heart piece?”
Link isn’t just the lead protagonist, the eternal hero, but the gamer personified and to be honest that is something you can never truly transfer over to film, and it’s actually the biggest part of the franchise, his world becomes ours as our breath becomes his. No matter how striking or brilliantly acted a possible film could be, Link will never be Link because Link is meant to be us and there would be no us in the film version. Secondly as far as a film goes, all of it has to be CGI, much like the Final Fantasy movies, and it can not be an adaptation of any games released in the series, not even Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess. To attempt such a feat would be one of the hardest tasks you could endure because to do so would mean deciding between which elements will be implemented and which ones meant and even the smallest things are a lot bigger than first conceived in the long run.
As well as action, compelling story and characters, Zelda is about learning, about puzzles and no film could ever capture the essence of that. A lot of people when they think about Ocarina of Time, they think about the water temple, about how hard, no film or TV show could ever capture that. Now as for Link’s lack of voice, what lack of voice? If you’ve actually paid attention, Link speaks without even needed to say a word, and he’s managed to survive long enough before his adventure even starts, he’s clearly interacted with Saria long before we ever laid eyes on her. How else would they be friends? But although it is a voice he haven’t “heard,” there is no real actor who could be cast for the role as each and every one of us have our own interpretation of how he sounds and should a film come out half of us will be disappointed. A lot.
Miyamoto could spend ten years working on this, perfecting it to the tee, but every then, no matter all that hard work, even with an original story of its own that ties everything together, or at least a few of the games, the film will be a Tri Force Heroes, a new Zelda adventure that has left its fans divided and disappointed, whilst the other half cheer gladly. But the reality is, unless it is an original story, where the camera angles acts as Link’s eyes and occasionally offer glances of the hero, both his garb and appearance, and the careful research and time is lovingly put into the project, a Zelda film would just be a waste of time.
The internet is full of animations of Link and his adventures, but the reason why they work so well is they makers didn’t have to compromise. Because they are true fans who worship the series and made sure the core elements were perfectly captured with every sequence, but these works are mostly short. Long enough to have the Zelda nostalgia, but finish long before they go off point. Some animations worth noting was the ongoing series, The Legend of Zelda: Unknown Origins. The series had a story that was completely of its own, but was tied to the series with the involvement of the Kokiri and Midna.
However in modern day society, we tend to change our minds now almost as much as we change mobile phones and game consoles, so although a Zelda movie should be something left for later, or never, film adaptations of World of Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed are on their way and they could just turn out to be the game changers that make a great Zelda film possible. Either way, you should definitely check out the piece Why Film Adaptations Will Never Be Perfect by Dan Fryling, as it certainly makes for interesting reading.
As always, the views expressed here, are entirely those of my own and we are always keen to hear yours.